Saturday, August 21, 2010


August 17, 2010

Our children born in Paraguay are able to have both a Paraguayan passport and an American passport (when they turn 18 years they will have to chose one). Before becoming a missionary, I had no concept of the intense process people go through to legally live in another country. There is A LOT of paperwork involved, hoops to jump through and red tape to navigate. It chews up a lot of our time and a lot of our money. As soon as we moved here, we began the process of applying for our Paraguayan residency cards. It took us 4 years to get them. Until then, we had to get our temporary residency cards stamped every 3 months in the city (remember we live 5 hours away). It’s a lot harder than it sounds on paper, but it requires multiple trips to various government buildings because papers keep “disappearing” off desks, papers expire and must be renewed and “oh, by the way, you’ll need this other document too.”. Among our bulging file folder of official copies of birth certificates, marriage license, passports, etc, we never seem to have what they want that particular time.

So, to be born in the country in which you plan to live is helpful because you don’t have to do all that. With Micah, took the “certificate of live birth” the hospital gave us and applied for his Paraguayan birth certificate. However, with Julia, we threw the system for a loop because we didn’t have her in a hospital. That fact, plus the fact that her parents are foreigners; Paraguayan officials didn’t know what to do with us. It seemed that no one could obtain for us a certificate of live birth – the first piece in the puzzle to getting a birth certificate. It turned out to be a very lengthy and frustrating process. For the last 12 days, we have been all over Asuncion searching for someone to help. I have retraced our steps below. There are a few things to keep in mind:

We were dragging around a newborn baby, a post-partum mama (I don’t know what
that has to do with anything but it just sounds good), a husband who doesn’t claim patience as his strongest suite, 2 witnesses and at times our other 5 children.

It is rare to see a computer in government offices. Most all their work is done by hand. There are always stacks and stacks of papers and notebooks littering desks. I don’t know how they find anything.

Things seem inefficient and much disorganized to me. The offices that they have to squeeze desks and chairs and shelves are usually pretty small. People waiting for attention pack themselves into the already crowded room and push their way to the front. They usually aren’t the kind of places you want to be stuck for a couple hours waiting.

Looking back and can honestly thank God that Julia was breech up to 39 weeks, otherwise we would have never gone to this OB doc for an ultrasound, and we would have had no proof whatsoever, beyond our word, that I was ever pregnant!


1. OB office said we could obtain a certificate of live birth from the pediatrician

2. Our pediatrician said he had no idea how we could obtain a birth certificate

3. Our family practice doctor friend said to go to the nearest public hospital

4. Friday the hospital said the law recently changed and we needed to go our nearest civil registry.

5. Monday the Civil registry closest to us said we had to go to the main office (along with two people as witnesses that I was pregnant and gave birth to this baby).

6. The main office looked at us like we were aliens when we explained our plight. They insisted we needed to go to the public hospital (see #4). Finally they gave us a list of documents we needed to gather and present to them. We had all the needed papers but one – our verification of residence was from 2009 and it need to be this year.

7. The police department (where we’ve always gone for our residence verification) said a new law says they can no longer do these for foreigners.

8. Went to the justice of the peace and filled out some forms

9. Tuesday the JP came to our house to verify that we lived there, verified by two neighbors

10. Wednesday we picked up the verification of residence and went back to the civil registration with all the paperwork they requested, but the lady who saw us before wasn’t there and the one that was there said we couldn’t get what we needed. When Jeff got a bit frustrated she told us to go upstairs and meet with the legal dept.

12. The lawyer gave us the name of a person in that office that could give us a birth certificate, but he wasn’t in that day.

13. Thursday we went for the third time to the civil registration, met with the guy the lawyer told us about and we said there was nothing he could do. He told us to go talk to the supreme director of all civil registrars in another office upstairs.

14. The bottom line after Jeff talked to that man was that there was no way to obtain a birth certificate for a baby born at home because we cannot prove she is ours. He said we needed to go to the public hospital (our very first stop in the whole process).

15. Went to the OB’s office to get their opinion as to what to do next. He called around and told us to go to the secretary of children and adolescents.

16. Drove around aimlessly trying to find the secretary of children building. Just when we received great directions, the OB called us and said that we shouldn’t go there after all- it would just complicate matters more.

17. Went to the hospital again and were told to go to the National Palace of Justice.

18. Jeff called one of the nurses in San Francisco and explained the situation. Within a couple hours she called back and had it all arranged for us to get a birth certificate in SF. The catch was that it would say that she was born in SF. After talking with Paul, the mission director, we felt like it was dishonest.

19. Finally a lady with the National Health Department-Maternal Child program had a connection with a public hospital and she was able to get us a legal, blank certificate of live birth (no reference to an institution). We could fill it out but needed a Paraguayan doctor’s signature.

20. The OB who did the ultrasound said he would do it but for his records we needed to provide him with pictures just after birth, an ultrasound of me while pregnant and one now (proof that I am not longer pregnant), and a letter from the mission, signed and stamped by two witnesses. That was Friday and he would sign it Monday night.

21. Monday he calls and decided not to sign it but talked to his partner, who also saw me once prenatally, and he would sign it. Praise God that he did!

22. Today - August 17, 2010 we took that signed paper to the civil registry and after waiting 1 ½ hours the man in charge said all was in order, we just needed our witnesses (the one time they didn’t come because they’re out of town).

23. Went home and called two other friends to be the witnesses and headed back for the 5th time. We turned in all he asked for – newborn pictures, ultrasound pictures, doctor’s note that he cared for me while pregnant and copies of various papers. After waiting 1 ½ hours WE GOT IT! We finally received her BIRTH CERTIFICATE!


After receiving her Paraguayan birth certificate we immediately went to the American Embassy and within an hour received her American Certificate of Birth Abroad. With that and her Paraguayan birth certificate, we applied for her American passport and Social Security number.

Today – August 17 - we applied for Julia’s Paraguayan identity card. The National Police Identifications building has undergone major renovations and was running VERY smoothly. There were computers everywhere! It was great. Within an hour, we had what we needed and we can pick the card up in one month.
With that we can apply for her Paraguayan passport. Then we have to get her passport certified in the Ministry of Exterior, get her permiso de minor so that she can travel as a child, and then her certificado de retorno, which lets her come back into the country after she travels out of it- and that’s only good for 3 years.

Holding up her Paraguayan and American birth certificate


This is the room - #8 - at the SIM guest house in Asuncion, Paraguay where Julia Leilani was born. We've jokingly said that we were going to fashion a plaque to nail to the floor that said, "Juila McKissick was born here".

We've had a few breastfeeding woes but are finally - after 2 weeks - getting the hang of it. In the meantime, the kids have LOVED giving Julia a bottle

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


May 15-16, 2010

Since we arrived in Paraguay we have been “stuck” in the capital, Asuncion, waiting for our precious new addition. I think we all are a bit stir-crazy wanting to be at our home in rural San Francisco, but that time will have to wait a bit longer (like a month) because Jeff and I will begin a Guarani refresher course (in another town) next week. As you can imagine, we did not have many opportunities to practice while we were in the states and we are feeling a bit rusty.
This weekend we had an opportunity to head home for a quick visit. We had a wonderful time and have many reasons to Praise God.

We had a flat tire while traveling and God sent 2 men to help Jeff.

There is no cooking gas in town (due to a country-wide shortage), but a neighbor gave us her gas for the weekend and told us she’d cook over coals.

Our team mates who live 1 ½ hours away came the day before we arrived to clean our house, make our beds, and leave us meals.

Jeff went to a Sunday morning meeting (it was too cold for me to venture out with baby Julia) and had great conversations. Throughout Sunday, we were greeted by many many friends who came by the house bringing various gifts of fruit and milk and thanks that we were returning to help the community.

Everything was well cared for while we were gone. The kids loved seeing their house, playing with their toys, and reuniting with Boots (cat) and Lady (dog). As we were packing up Monday to leave Tyler asked me why we always had to leave places…..poor guy.

Julia got to see her home for the first time and liked it so much that she decided not to sleep at night (lest she miss out on the dogs howling and the roosters crowing). God kept her healthy and safe while being passed around from visitor to visitor.

Jeff changing our flat tire

The red dirt road....getting closer to home

there is some comfort knowing that things haven't changed since we've been gone

these beautifully colored lapacho trees bloom this time of year

Micah with our dog Lady who was missed terribly by the kids while we were gone.

Micah enjoying fruit

Monday, August 9, 2010


Julia's first day consisted of being passed around to all her siblings many many times.

A celebration of life....Happy Birthday baby Julia (a McKissick family tradition)

First bath

Sunday, August 8, 2010


August 3, 2010 (2 days past my due date) at 10:30pm my water broke and contractions started right afterward. I went to bed hoping to wake up in full labor.

Instead, I spent the entire day (August 4) laboring with contractions 10-20 minutes a part.

Here's what the kids did to help pass the time:

24 hours after my water had broken and with my contractions still so spaced a apart, Jeff decided to start a pitocin drip on me.

Here's the doc/father/husband in action and our IV set up.

My contractions picked up, thankfully.

August 5, 2010 at 2:25am (after 27 hours of labor!) Julia Leilani was born! She is beautiful, healthy and very loved.

Minutes old

Seeing her for the first time up close

I know that if Jeff was telling the story, he would brag on me, but since this is my blog, I want to tell you what an awesome job he did. I asked him earlier if he was nervous at all and he said no. He was totally prepared for a home birth. He had a lot on his mind being doctor and husband and father. He juggled those hats with ease. Julia is the first McKissick that he has delivered and our first home birthing experience – two things we have talked about with each kid. It was really a special experience.

7lbs, 5oz....20in long

family of 8

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Julia is here at last!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Baby's coming!

Amy's water broke last night and she's been having contractions off and on since then. Expecting baby Julia at some point today! Please pray for Amy and the hours of labor ahead.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Sunday, August 1, 2010
40 weeks

Well, August 1st – Julia's due date – is here and I am feeling too good to be going into labor and giving birth today…ug! I’m wondering why all my babies want to pass their due date by a couple days! Tyler summed all our feelings last night when he said, “I am sooooo tired of waiting for baby Julia to come! Will she ever get here?” And then Micah added, “I think she is playing hide and go seek.” We are all anxiously (not patiently) awaiting! Yesterday Micah randomly lifted up my shirt to expose my big belly and yelled, “Come out baby Juli-la!” The kids have still been thanking God each night for flipping baby Julia over and that mommy doesn’t have to have surgery. Then they pray that Julia would come out that very night. All I know is that she has to come out sometime....right?